There are several candidates in the running for the Associated Press’ NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Here are five of them, listed in alphabetical order:
Stephon Gilmore, Patriots CB: Has six interceptions, two touchdowns, a league-high 19 passes defensed and a fumble recovery as the key piece on the NFL’s top-ranked defense in yards and points allowed.
Danielle Hunter, Vikings DE: Has 14½ sacks, 16 tackles for loss, 54 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 76 tackles in a season in which he became the youngest player to reach 50 sacks.
Chandler Jones, Cardinals DE: Has league highs in sacks (19) and forced fumbles (eight) to go with three fumble recoveries and three passes defensed. A strong candidate to become the sixth DPOY from a losing team.
Marcus Peters, Ravens CB: First player with pick-sixes for two teams in the same season. Has a league-high three, two of them after his trade from the Rams. Has five interceptions and 14 passes defensed.
T.J. Watt, Steelers OLB: The younger brother of three-time winner J.J. Watt has 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions and seven passes defensed.
Honorable mentions: Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (16½ sacks, six forced fumbles, one interception); Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (two touchdowns); Vikings safety Anthony Harris (six interceptions, one touchdown); Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White (six interceptions, 17 passes defensed, one sack, two forced fumbles).